Monday, April 3, 2017

Towers of Power

Related imageOur city street will be changing yet again. In New York City and in possibly other cities across the country kiosks will be installed on most city streets. Yes, something else to bump into while you are distracted on your cell phones. Those die hard cell phone users should be happy because these towers will literally be towers of power. They are called Link NYC. They will be providing   phone calls, FREE Wi-Fi and a port to charge your cell phone. Yes, it is a sign of the times we live in and will be providing a service that most people need these days. Finally something giving back to the people that we all could actually use.

Related imageIt is a public service that offers a free way to off load their data plans for people who don’t have a way to access mobile plans or data. It is an important public service. It is a very special phone on the street again. With all these new bells and whistles, my heart still belongs to the old telephone booth that you needed a quarter to make a call. The place where sometimes Superman made his quick change from street clothes to his super Superman outfit. The place where the actress Tippi Hedren found shelter from attacking killer seagulls in the classic movie called The Birds. Agent Maxwell Smart used a phone booth as his office in the old TV sitcom called Get Smart. The old commercials said “Reach out and touch someone” through a phone call of course and you actually didn’t touch anyone. Ok this is stupid but the old phone booth was cool.
Related imageThere are still four remaining phone booths in New York City that children marvel at like it was something dropped down from space. They are located along West End Avenue at 10th, 66th, 90th and 100th street. The cell phone generation doesn’t understand phone booths at all. First you have to explain what a phone is and then explain why it was in a glass box. The cool part is that in these four remaining phone booths you still need a quarter to make a call but then the surprise is that at the end of your call, you get your quarter back reminiscent of an old slot machine. I tell persistent   gamblers to go play the ATM   Machine or the phone booth and at least you are sure to retain your cash.

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In the 1970’s they installed those semi enclosed pedestal style pay phones I guess because too many idiots were urinating in the booths. Suddenly Superman lost his place to change clothes. By the 1990’s there were nearly 3 million pay phones in America but now just a small fraction remain. They have become tourist attractions to children who only know the smart phone. Marc Thomas created the Data Project that is an online data base that keeps tract of the few remaining phone booths around the world. His cell phone put the pay phone out of business. All you people who lost your jobs to robotics can sympathize with the ancient phone booth. 

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